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Pending stay, players can report Friday

Updated: 6 p.m.

If a federal court doesn't give the NFL a stay of its lockout Thursday, players can show up at Paul Brown Stadium Friday at 8 a.m. to work out, meet with coaches, and be handed playbooks. According to reports, the league could distribute rules governing transactions as soon as Friday, which would seem to indicate players can't be traded for draft picks this weekend but that free agency and all transactions could start Monday.

The conventional wisdom is that the rules put in place is going to mirror 2010 rules, which would make cornerback Johnathan Joseph a restricted free agent.

Head coach Marvin Lewis had no comment as he waits on the status of the stay, but the logical schedule would have the opening of the offseason workout program on Monday.

The announcement came with teams preparing for Thursday's first round of the draft that begins at 8 p.m. (NFL Network, ESPN) with the Bengals holding the fourth pick. Like the rest of his NFL Network colleagues, former Bengals safety Solomon Wilcots, working the draft for the network at PBS, is calling it for wide receiver A.J. Green if the Bengals don't trade the pick down to get a quarterback.

The story at the end of the day besides the labor issue is those quarterbacks and they were carrying the buzz early in the day. Sports Illustrated's Peter King tweeted a GM is telling him Washington's Jake Locker and TCU's Andy Dalton are going in the top 20. Later, draft dean Rick Gossellin of *The Dallas Morning News *said that the top four and Florida State's Christian Ponder would be gone in the top 12.

Adding to the day's bizarre events was Chad Ochocinco's tweet endorsing a Green selection, saying it would be "EPIC," and safe. If it happens, it could be the end of his Bengals' career, a decade stint in which he became the club's all-time receiver.

Joe Reedy of *The Cincinnati Enquirer *caught up with two team leaders at their lockout workout headquarters, Ignition Sports in Mason, Ohio.

"Guys have missed it and are working out but they really want to get back to the stadium, that's a sense of home," Williams told Reedy. "This right now (working out offsite), it seems like we're abroad. The stadium is home.

"That needs to be taken care of. The sooner we get down there the sooner we can start looking at the new offense. Guys are ready to get down there."

Peko literally talked like an enthusiastic grade schooler.

""It might be a little awkward at first but it's family," Peko said. "It's our work place, we all know each other and it will be like the first day of school."

Along with the coaches and facility being open for business, the league also said players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events. The draft picks were already able to do that, but under lockout rules they could only do it for the length of the draft and not talk football with the coaches. Now if there is no stay, they'd be able to get their playbooks, work with the coaches and prepare for next weekend's rookie minicamp. 

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